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In Access 2010 Power Shortcuts, Access expert Alicia Katz Pollock shares hundreds of tips and shortcuts to vastly increase efficiency and get the full power out of Access 2010. The course includes tips for working with the Ribbon and Quick Access toolbar, managing files, customizing and automating Access, rapid data entry and editing, working with tables, queries, forms, and reports, managing your database, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you create Forms and Reports from scratch, it will help usability, if you make sure to align up your labels and controls so the information looks orderly, instead of jagged. The best way to show you is to design a form from scratch. Go up to the Create ribbon and then click on the Form Design button, we now have blank form. Up on the ribbon click on Add Existing Fields, click on Show all tables and click on the Plus sign next to Customers. Here is a list of all the fields in our Customers table. I'll double-click on everything from Customer ID all the way down through ZIP code.
As I double-click each gets added to the form. When I'm done I'll close my Field List. Now while all of these controls are aligned along their left edge, my labels look really jagged. It usually looks really nice when all of your labels are aligned on the right edge. To do this I need to highlight all of them. I'll draw a marquee around them so they are all selected, then I'll come up to Form Design tools and my Arrange ribbon, I'll come here to the right to the Align button and I'll Align them Right. Now I can see that many of them are too short.
If I look carefully I can see that there is a dot on the middle of the right-hand side of all of the fields, and because they are highlighted, if I carefully hold my cursor over that dot, so that I get it double-headed arrow, I can click and drag over to the right-hand side and they will all become larger all at ones. Now, well this looks nice. I would actually like to rearrange this label, so that my Address is actually classically align with City, State and ZIP on one line and my Customer ID and Company are on one line as well. I'll click anywhere in the detail area, so that I lose my highlights.
The first thing I want to do is move Company up here next to Customer ID, so I'll click on the Company field. If I want to move it independently of my label I'll click on the grayed box in the upper left-hand corner and I'll get that four-headed arrow. I'll click and drag this up here on the right-hand side and then I'll also extend it out so it's longer. Now instead of having Customer ID and Company, I'm going to click on the Customer ID label and then hit Delete on my keyboard; so that it disappears. I'll then move Company up in its place by again, clicking on the dot in the upper left-hand corner.
Now I'll move my Address line up. I'll click on Address and this time if I just hold my cursor on the edge of the box, not on one of the dots, I can move both the control and the label at the same time. I'll extend Address1, so it's as long as Company. I'll do the same to Address2. Now instead of manually making Address2 match Address1 by dragging, I've another way of doing it. I'll hold my Shift key down and click on Address1 so that both are selected. Then I'll come up to the Size button up in the ribbon on the right-hand side and I'll choose To Widest.
Now it makes the right edge match the field above. For the rest of my Address, I don't actually want all of these labels here, so I'm going to draw a marquee touching Address2 through ZIP and then delete those as well. I'll move City up under Address and I'll make it a lot longer, I'll make State shorter, since it just has two characters in it and then I'll use the box in the corner and move it up next to City and I'll do the same thing with the ZIP. Now what I want ZIP to be in the exact same position as Address, I'll Shift click on Address, go up to Align again and Align it on the Right hand side.
Now I notice that my placement for City, State and ZIP is kind of jagged, so I'll draw a marquee touching all three of those fields, come up to Align and Align them Top. I also want them equally spaced, so I can go back to Size/Space again and down in the Spacing area, I'll make them Equal Horizontal that will distribute the three boxes, so that they are equally spaced. I need to make some of the same changes to the Company line. So I'll draw a marquee to touch all three of those boxes and align those on Top as well.
I need Company and Address to align up on the right-hand sides, Align, Right and I need to make sure that Customer ID and these fields are aligned on their left-hand sides, so I'll Shift+Click on the four of these and Align them Left. Now lastly, I notice that there is a big gap between my Company information and the rest. So I'm going to highlight all of my fields by drawing a marquee around all of them, go back up to the Size/Space button again and this I'm going to choose Spacing, Equal Vertical.
Now my all fields are equally distributed vertically. I'll click off, then I'm going to hold my cursor over my Form tab, right-click on it and take a look and see what this looks like in Form View. That looks great, but my fields are a little far apart, so I'm going to go back to Design View again, re-highlight all of my options. Go back to my Form Design tools, Arrange tab, go back to Size and Space and I'm going to Decrease the Vertical space between them. I'll do it once and then I'll do it twice, Decrease Vertical.
Now when I switch my view and look at in Form View, it looks really nice. Go ahead and save this form as Customer Addresses. I'll right-click on Form tab, choose Save. Using Align and distribute will make your forms and reports, look like they were professionally made.
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